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Ghana Stock Exchange to Start Alternative Market in March

The Ghana Stock Exchange will start a parallel market by March for small companies that have potential to use the capital raised by selling shares for growth, said General Manager Ekow Afedzie.

Businesses with a minimum capital of 250,000 cedis ($132,000), at least 20 shareholders and with one year of published accounts will qualify to list on the Ghana Alternative Market, he told reporters in the capital, Accra, today. The exchange will have less stringent requirements for listing than the main Ghanaian bourse, Afedzie said.

“We believe that in the long term this market would be key to the growth of the economy,” Afedzie said.

Ghana’s Composite Index has expanded 23 percent this year, outpacing a 4.9 percent gain in Morgan Stanley’s frontier markets measure, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The West African nation’s economy, the second-biggest in the region, is forecast to grow 8.2 percent this year and 7.8 percent in 2013, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The stock exchange will start a revolving fund to cover listing costs of companies on the alternative market, Afedzie said. The African Development Bank has contributed $600,000 for the fund, he said. Ghana’s Venture Capital Trust Fund is giving $500,000 while the bourse will provide $50,000, according to Afedzie.

“The fund will help companies entering the market to postpone listing costs to a future time when they begin to make profit,” he said.

Ghana’s Securities and Exchange Commission asked the government to waive a 0.05 percent tax charged on companies to list shares on the market, Director General Adu Anane Antwi told reporters.

While dividends earned on the market are taxed at 8 percent, the SEC wants amounts of 200 cedis and below to be exempt, Antwi said.

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